Canal Street Online Manchester

We chatted to former corrie star Charlie Condou

We chatted to former corrie star Charlie Condou

Charlie Condou is well known to Mancunians as Marcus from Coronation Street and recently returned as part of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He is returning to the Opera House at the beginning of May to play Reverend Hale in Arthur Miller’s classic text The Crucible. 

Canal St’s Chris Park spoke to Charlie about this role and what the production has in store for Manchester audiences.

You’ve been on the road for a couple of months, do you feel comfortable with the character?

I’m a lot more comfortable now just because I’ve had a lot more time to bed it in and the great thing about Miller is he’s such a fantastic playwright that there are lots of layers, so every night you’re finding something new. Certainly the first month or so I was discovering new stuff so now I think I’m sort of a bit more settled in it.

Did you study The Crucible at school, most people definitely did?

I did absolutely do it at school, I think it was one of my A Level set texts. It seems that most people did, I think it’s still on the curriculum now actually, we’ve had a lot of school parties in.

For anyone who didn’t study the play at school, can you give us a quick breakdown?

It’s set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts at the time of the Witch Trials and it’s basically about a very small community, some of the young girls start to accuse people of witchcraft and very quickly hysteria takes over and it catches fire and before you know it loads and loads of people are being accused and being hanged for being witches.

The Crucible was a metaphor for the McCarthy witchhunts, do you draw a parallel to today’s political climate with perceived threat again over-taking actual threat and what do you feel about this?

That’s right, Miller wrote it as an allegory because he himself was caught up in the McCarthy trials, the search for communists. So that’s why he wrote the play. Yes it’s really easy to see the similarities and how they resonate in today’s climate. We talk a lot about alternative facts and fake news and living in a post truth era and that’s certainly one of the themes of this play.

What preparation did you do for the role?

I did a lot of reading up of him as a character and books on witchcraft and all that kind of thing. After a while you have to put that stuff to one side because it is a work of fiction even though it was based on true events and you don’t want to get caught up too much in who he was an actual person, it doesn’t serve the play.

What is life on the road like?

It’s tiring and hard work. We’re in Brighton this week but I’m commuting and getting on the train straight after the show and coming back up so I can take the kids to school in the morning but I’m not the only working parent so I think I can manage it.

Once you wrap the tour in June, what is on the cards for you?

I don’t know at the moment, I’m going to have a break. Me and my husband are going to go on holiday. I will work it out after that.

You’re known for your patronage of many LGBT causes, what is at the top of your agenda at the moment?

Things seem to be moving so quickly, I think for me there is often a lot of complacency, certainly from the younger generation of gay men and women. They seem to look around and think things are all right for the LGBT community now, we can get married and walk down the street holding hands. But you forget how hard it was for those rights to be won in the first place and how quickly they can be taken away. Certainly if you look at what’s happening around the world, rights are being taken away and I think it’s very easy to settle back and think everything is OK now and it isn’t OK, we’ve still got a long way to go, for me, you always need to keep fighting and keep trying.

The Crucible will be at Manchester Opera House from 8th to 13th May. Tickets can be found via link below

By Chris Park for Canal St Online

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